RETScreen® International

Clean Energy Decision Support Centre



This publication is distributed for informational purposes only and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Government of Canada nor constitute an endorsement of any commercial product or person. Neither Canada, nor its ministers, officers, employees and agents make any warranty in respect to this publication nor assume any liability arising out of this publication.

© Minister of Natural Resources Canada 2001 - 2004.

ISBN: 0-662-35670-5 Catalogue no.: M39-97/2003E-PDF © Minister of Natural Resources Canada 2001 - 2004.

1 WIND ENERGY BACKGROUND . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
1.1 Description of Wind Turbines. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 1.2 Wind Energy Application Markets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
1.2.1 1.2.2 Off-grid applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 On-grid applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

2 RETSCREEN WIND ENERGY PROJECT MODEL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
2.1 Unadjusted Energy Production . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
2.1.1 2.1.2 2.1.3 Wind speed distribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Energy curve . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Unadjusted energy production . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

2.2 Gross Energy Production. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 2.3 Renewable Energy Delivered . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
2.3.1 2.3.2 2.3.3 2.3.4 2.3.5 Renewable energy collected . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Absorption rate and renewable energy delivered. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Excess renewable energy available . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Specific yield . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Wind plant capacity factor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

2.4 Validation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
2.4.1 2.4.2 Validation of wind energy model compared with an hourly model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Validation of wind energy model compared with monitored data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

2.5 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

REFERENCES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27



EAETB. Figure 1: 39. Wind Energy Background WIND ENERGY PROJECT ANALYSIS CHAPTER Clean Energy Project Analysis: RETScreen® Engineering & Cases is an electronic textbook for professionals and university students. there is ample terrain in most areas of the world to provide a significant portion of the local electricity needs with wind energy projects (Rangi et al.. Mines and Resources Canada (CANMET). 1 WIND ENERGY BACKGROUND1 The kinetic energy in the wind is a promising source of renewable energy with significant potential in many parts of the world. D. Canada. The energy that can be captured by wind turbines is highly dependent on the local average wind speed. October 1992.1. worked-out solutions and information about how the projects fared in the real world. Photo Credit: Photo © BONUS Energy A/S 1. This chapter covers the analysis of potential wind energy projects using the RETScreen® International Clean Energy Project Analysis Software. Templin. Regions that normally present the most attractive potential are located near coasts. ON. M.. J. 1992).net. Backgrounder published by the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA).. WIND.retscreen. R. In spite of these geographical limitations for wind energy project siting. Rangi..6 MW Central-Grid Windfarm in Spain. Canadian Wind Energy Technical and Market Potential. Some mountainous areas also have good potential. with assignments. inland areas with open terrain or on the edge of bodies of water. Some of the text in this “Background” description comes from the following two CANMET supported reports: Wind Energy Basic Information.5 . and Argue. is available at the RETScreen® International Clean Energy Decision Support Centre Website www. including a technology background and a detailed description of the algorithms found in the RETScreen® Software. A collection of project case studies. Carpentier. Energy. and.

Over the last decade. During 2001 alone the wind energy industry installed close to 5. This is due to the fact that the power potential in the wind is related to the cube of the wind speed. large-scale wind energy projects now generate electricity at costs competitive with conventional power plants (e.000 MW of wind energy capacity is now estimated to be in operation around the world (Wind Power Monthly.Wind Energy Project Analysis Chapter The world-wide demand for wind turbines has been growing rapidly over the last 15 years. However. with some wind energy projects now even being developed offshore. Photo Credit: Photo © BONUS Energy A/S In addition to these larger scale applications. in some areas of the world. Much of this demand has been driven by the need for electric power plants that use “cleaner fuels. The difference is accounted for by the WIND.g. the power production performance of a practical wind turbine is typically more proportional to the square of the average wind speed.6 . More than 24. Figure 2: 2 MW Wind Turbines at 40 MW Offshore Windfarm in Denmark. Wind energy projects are generally more financially viable in “windy” areas.500 MW of new generating capacity.” Windfarms that use multiple turbines are being constructed in the multi-megawatt range. as depicted in Figure 1. as shown in Figure 2. The result of all this progress is that. there are a number of other applications for wind turbines. such as medium scale applications on isolated-grids and off-grid uses for pumping water and providing smaller amounts of electricity for stand-alone battery charging applications. 2001). nuclear. oil and coal). typical individual turbine sizes have increased from around 100 kW to 1 MW or more of electricity generation capacity.

The wind speed at which rated power is reached is called the rated wind speed of the turbine.1. Power output increases rapidly as the wind speed rises. This means that the energy that may be produced by a wind turbine will increase by about 20% for each 10% increase in wind speed. The wind turbines depend on the same aerodynamic forces created by the wings of an aeroplane to cause rotation. which converts the energy in the wind into mechanical energy onto the rotor shaft. 1996). This cut-in wind speed is usually a gentle breeze of about 4 m/s. Wind Energy Background aerodynamic. Solid foundation to prevent the wind turbine from blowing over in high winds and/or icing conditions (CanWEA. Proper wind resource assessment is a standard and important component for most wind energy project developments. Tall tower which supports the rotor high above the ground to capture the higher wind speeds. the control system shuts the wind turbine down to prevent damage to the machinery. The earlier concerns that wind turbines were expensive and unreliable have largely been allayed. It is important to note that since the human sensory perception of the wind is usually based on short-term observations of climatic extremes such as wind storms and wind chill impressions. When output reaches the maximum power the machinery was designed for. thus producing a very small amount of power. either of these “wind speeds” might be wrongly interpreted as representative of a windy site. Wind energy project costs have declined and wind turbine technical availability is now consistently above 97%. the wind turbine controls govern the output to the rated power. When the wind speed is high enough to overcome friction in the wind turbine drivetrain. with 2 or 3 blades. mass production and continuing technical success in research and development (R&D). This cut-out wind speed is usually around 25 m/s. Wind energy project siting is critical to a financially viable venture. and is usually a strong wind of about 15 m/s. if the wind speed increases further. Gearbox to match the slowly turning rotor shaft to the electric generator.7 . for sites with a good wind regime (Rangi et al. Modern wind energy systems operate automatically. mechanical and electrical conversion characteristics and efficiencies of the wind turbines. WIND. 1. and Control system to start and stop the wind turbine and to monitor proper operation of the machinery. Eventually.1 Description of Wind Turbines Wind turbine technology has reached a mature status during the past 15 years as a result of international commercial competition. The major components of modern wind energy systems typically consist of the following: Rotor. the controls allow the rotor to rotate. 1992). Wind energy project plant capacity factors have also improved from 15% to over 30% today. An anemometer that continuously measures wind speed is part of most wind turbine control systems..

Wind energy projects are common for off-grid applications. wind energy was most competitive in remote sites. Rotor Blade Swept Area of Blades Rotor Diameter Nacelle with Gearbox and Generator Hub Height Tower Underground Electrical Connections (Front View) Foundation (Side View) Figure 3: Wind Energy System Schematic. wind energy is typically used in the charging of batteries that store the energy captured by the wind turbines and provides the user with electrical energy on demand. In these offgrid applications.Wind Energy Project Analysis Chapter Figure 3 illustrates the configuration of a typical “Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine” or HAWT wind energy system. 1.2. rather than energy. as depicted in Figure 4. Water pumping. A “Vertical Axis Wind Turbine” or VAWT is an equally viable alternative design. can WIND. the largest market potential for wind energy projects is with on-grid (or grid-connected) applications.1 Off-grid applications Historically. However. where water.2 Wind Energy Application Markets Wind energy markets can be classified based on the end-use application of the technology. although it is not as common as the HAWT design in recent projects implemented around the world. far from the electric grid and requiring relatively small amounts of power. 1.8 . typically less than 10 kW.

1. Wind Energy Background be stored for future use.. Wind energy is also competitive in water pumping applications (Leng et al. RETScreen® International Wind Energy Project Model The RETScreen® International Wind Energy Project Model can be used world-wide to easily evaluate the energy production. Photo Credit: Charles Newcomber/NREL Pix 1.1. diesel. gas and thermoelectric generators. Figure 4: 10 kW Off-Grid Wind Turbine in Mexico.2 On-grid applications In on-grid applications the wind energy system feeds electrical energy directly into the electric utility grid. life-cycle costs and greenhouse gas emissions reduction for central-grid.9 . Central-grid electricity generation. isolated-grid and off-grid wind energy projects. 1996). is also a key historical application of wind energy. 2. with wind turbine generation capacity typically ranging from approximately 10 kW to 200 kW. ranging in size from large scale multi-turbine wind farms to small scale single-turbine wind-diesel hybrid systems. primary (disposable) batteries.2. Two on-grid application types can be distinguished. with wind turbine generation capacity typically ranging from approximately 200 kW to 2 MW. Isolated-grid electricity generation. WIND. The key competitive area for wind energy in remote off-grid power applications is against electric grid extension.

The wind energy system’s primary role is to help reduce the amount of diesel fuel consumption. a small wind energy project could be installed to help supply a portion of the electricity requirements. A wind-diesel hybrid system is shown in Figure 5. Photo Credit: Phil Owens/Nunavut Power Corp. Electricity generation is often relatively expensive due to the high cost of transporting diesel fuel to these isolated sites. Figure 5: 50 kW Isolated-Grid Wind Turbine in the Arctic. WIND. if the site has good local winds. These wind energy projects are normally referred to as wind-diesel hybrid systems. However.10 .Wind Energy Project Analysis Chapter Isolated-grids Isolated-grids are common in remote areas.

erecting the turbines. the acquisition of all authorisations and permits. electrical interconnections and a substation. installing the electrical collection lines and transformers. Figure 6: Components of a Windfarm in the United States. Construction involves preparing the site. the purchasing of the equipment. Wind Energy Background Central-grids Central-grid applications for wind energy projects are becoming more common. the design and specification of the civil.1. a monitoring and control system and a maintenance building for the larger farms. such as agriculture or forestry. as depicted in Figure 6. electrical and mechanical infrastructure. Another common approach for wind energy project development includes the installation of one or more larger scale wind turbines by individuals. consists of a number of wind turbines (which are often installed in rows perpendicular to the wind direction). larger scale wind turbines are clustered together to create a windfarm with capacities in the multi-megawatt range.11 . the layout of the wind turbines. A windfarm. businesses or co-operatives. grading roads. the construction and the commissioning of the installation. and construction of the substation and building. In relatively windy areas. building turbine foundations. Photo Credit: Warren Gretz/NREL Pix WIND. access roads. The land within the windfarm is usually used for other purposes. The development of a wind energy project includes the determination of the wind resource.

In the case where a pre-feasibility study indicates that a proposed wind energy project could be financially viable. WIND. off-grid battery charging and water pumping). 1992). Photo Credit: GPCo Inc. The construction itself can normally be completed within one year.Varennes in Canada.12 .g.. 1996) and (Lynette et al. the cost of wind monitoring could actually be higher than the cost to purchase and install a small wind turbine.Wind Energy Project Analysis Chapter The wind resource assessment and approvals for a windfarm are often the longest activities in the development of the wind energy project. 1993). Figure 7 shows the installation of a 40 m tall meteorological mast at the CANMET Energy Technology Centre . For very small-scale projects (e. (CanWEA. These can take up to 4 years in the case of a large windfarm requiring a comprehensive environmental impact study. In this case a detailed wind resource assessment would normally not be completed. The precise determination of the wind resource at a given site is one of the most important aspects in the development of a wind energy project as the available wind resource at the project site can dramatically impact the cost of wind energy production. Figure 7: Installation of a 40 m Meteorological Mast. it is typically recommended that a project developer take at least a full year of wind measurements at the exact location where the wind energy project is going to be installed (Brothers.

Gross energy production. WIND. . The main limitations of the model are that the stand-alone wind energy projects requiring energy storage currently cannot be evaluated. . Cost Analysis. which takes into account effects of temperature and atmospheric pressure. 2.4. This process can be repeated several times in order to help optimise the design of the wind energy project from an energy use and cost standpoint. ] Calculate gross energy production [ ect o 2.2] Calculate other auxiliary quantities [ ect o 2. . some values are suggested.2] Calculate unadjusted energy production [ ect o 2. RETScreen Wind Energy Project Model 2 RETSCREEN WIND ENERGY PROJECT MODEL The RETScreen® International Wind Energy Project Model can be used world-wide to easily evaluate the energy production. Equipment Data. Also.2] Calculate renewable energy collected [ ect o 2. Six worksheets (Energy Model.5] Figure 8: Wind Energy Model Flowchart. followed by the Financial Summary worksheet. and that the model has not yet been validated for vertical axis wind energy systems. the energy production of wind energy systems in RETScreen. The Energy Model and Equipment Data worksheets are completed first. The calculation of the energy curve and the unadjusted energy production is described in Section 2. Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Analysis (GHG Analysis). Financial Summary and Sensitivity and Risk Analysis (Sensitivity)) are provided in the Wind Energy Project Workbook file.e. A validation of the RETScreen Wind Energy Project Model is presented in Section 2. A flowchart of the algorithms is shown in Figure 8. to 2. isolated-grid and off-grid wind energy projects. .13 . This section describes the various algorithms used to calculate. the user works from top-down for each of the worksheets. life-cycle costs and greenhouse gas emissions reduction for central-grid.2. ranging in size from large scale multi-turbine wind farms to small scale single-turbine wind-diesel hybrid systems. To help the user characterise a wind energy system before evaluating its cost and energy performance. taking into account various losses) and renewable energy delivered is covered in Section 2. such as “suggested wind energy absorption rate” for projects located on isolated-grid and off-grid. ] Calculate renewable energy delivered [ ect o 2. The GHG Analysis worksheet is provided to help the user estimate the greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation potential of the proposed project. . Suggested or estimated values are based on input parameters and can be used as a first step in the analysis and are not necessarily the optimum values. on an annual basis. . In general. The Cost Analysis worksheet should then be completed. .2. the model addresses primarily Calculate energy curve [ ect o 2. Calculation of net energy production (i. The Sensitivity worksheet is provided to help the user estimate the sensitivity of important financial indicators in relation to key technical and financial parameters.1. is calculated in Section 2.3. The GHG Analysis and Sensitivity worksheets are optional analysis.

x ≥ 0 . as it conforms well to the observed long-term distribution of mean wind speeds for a range of sites. and C > 0. The Weibull probability density function expresses the probability p ( x) to have a wind speed x during the year. This distribution is often used in wind energy engineering.1 Unadjusted Energy Production RETScreen calculates the unadjusted energy production from the wind turbines. as follows (Hiester and Pennell. specified by the user. which is a special case of the Weibull distribution.Wind Energy Project Analysis Chapter “low penetration” technologies. a lower shape factor indicates a relatively wide distribution of wind speeds around the average while a higher shape factor indicates a relatively narrow distribution of wind speeds around the average. is calculated in RETScreen as a Weibull probability density function. where the shape factor (described below) is equal to 2. k is the shape factor. the user will need to carefully evaluate the “wind energy absorption rate” used and will likely require further information. However. The shape factor will typically range from 1 to 3. 2.2). 1981): C= x ⎛ 1⎞ Γ ⎜1 + ⎟ ⎝ k⎠ (2) where x is the average wind speed value and Γ is the gamma function. C is the scale factor. these limitations are without consequence. For a given average wind speed. A lower shape factor will normally lead to a higher energy production for a given average wind speed.1.14 . To properly evaluate “high penetration” technologies currently under development for isolated diesel-grid applications. WIND. It is the energy that one or more wind turbines will produce at standard conditions of temperature and atmospheric pressure. 1981): ⎛ k ⎞⎛ x ⎞ p ( x) = ⎜ ⎟ ⎜ ⎟ ⎝ C ⎠⎝ C ⎠ k −1 ⎡ ⎛ x ⎞k ⎤ exp ⎢ − ⎜ ⎟ ⎥ ⎢ ⎦ ⎣ ⎝C⎠ ⎥ (1) This expression is valid for k > 1. The calculation is based on the energy production curve of the selected wind turbine (entered in the Equipment Data worksheet) and on the average wind speed at hub height for the proposed site.1 Wind speed distribution Wind speed distribution. In some cases the model also uses the Rayleigh wind speed distribution. for the majority of the wind energy capacity being installed around the world today.1. 2. when required in the model (see Section 2. which is calculated from the following equation (Hiester and Pennell.

15 . the model uses the wind turbine power curve data entered by the user and the Weibull probability function described in Section 2. Px is the turbine power at wind speed x . calculated for an average wind speed v . and p ( x ) is the Weibull probability density function for wind speed x . In the Standard and Custom cases. Ev . the user specifies the wind turbine power curve as a function of wind speed in increments of 1 m/s.2. the energy curve is specified over the range of 3 to 15 m/s annual average wind speed. In the User-defined case. For the standard and custom cases. In RETScreen. 15 m/s). and is displayed graphically in the Equipment Data worksheet. The relations between the wind power density WPD and the average wind speed v are: (3) (4) where year. RETScreen Wind Energy Project Model In some cases. The user can specify the energy curve data by choosing among the three following data sources: Standard. the model will calculate the wind speed distribution from the wind power density at the site rather than from the wind speed. Custom and User-defined. WIND.1 to calculate the energy curve data.2 Energy curve The energy curve data is the total amount of energy a wind turbine produces over a range of annual average wind speeds. the user directly enters the energy curve data. 4. is then calculated as: (5) where v is the mean wind speed considered (v =3. Each point on the energy curve.1.1. …. from 0 m/s to 25 m/s. is the air density and p(x) is the probability to have a wind speed x during the 2.

2. cH and cT are given by: cH = P P0 (8) 2. The same equation is used to calculate wind speed at the 10-meter level.3). H 0. It is used in RETScreen to determine the renewable energy delivered (Section 2.16 . Once the annual average wind speed at hub height V is calculated.3 Unadjusted energy production The unadjusted energy production is the energy produced by the turbines at standard conditions of temperature and atmospheric pressure. and α is the wind shear exponent. Gross energy production EG is calculated through: EG = EU cH cT (7) where EU is the unadjusted energy production. with H set to 10 m. atmospheric pressure and temperature conditions at the site. it is calculated in order to provide a common basis to compare two sites for which the wind speed has been measured at different heights. The calculation is based on the average wind speed at hub height for the proposed site. V0 is the wind speed at anemometer height H 0. The model uses the following power law equation to calculate the average wind speed at hub height [Gipe.1. WIND. and cH and cT are the pressure and temperature adjustment coefficients. V0 and α are specified by the user 2.1. 1995]: V ⎛ H ⎞ =⎜ ⎟ V0 ⎝ H 0 ⎠ α (6) where V is the average wind speed at hub height H. the unadjusted energy production EU is calculated simply by interpolating the energy curve from Section 2. before any losses. Values of H.2 at the value V .2 Gross Energy Production Gross energy production is the total annual energy produced by the wind energy equipment. at the wind speed. This latter value has no bearing on the energy calculation procedure. Wind speed at hub height is usually significantly higher than wind speed measured at anemometer height due to wind shear.Wind Energy Project Analysis Chapter 2.

P0 is the standard atmospheric pressure of 101. and T0 is the standard absolute temperature of 288. λd .3 Renewable Energy Delivered The RETScreen Wind Energy Project Model calculates the renewable energy delivered to the electricity grid. and cL is the losses coefficient. 2. RETScreen Wind Energy Project Model cT = T0 T (9) where P is the annual average atmospheric pressure at the site. λd is the downtime losses. In the special case of isolated-grid and off-grid applications. and λm are specified by the user in the Energy Model worksheet.17 . 2. the amount of wind energy that can be absorbed by the grid or the load is also considered. and λm is the miscellaneous losses. taking into account various losses. T is the annual average absolute temperature at the site. λs &i is the airfoil soiling and icing losses.3 kPa. λs &i .1 Renewable energy collected Renewable energy collected is equal to the net amount of energy produced by the wind energy equipment: EC = EG cL (10) where EG is the gross energy production.1 K.3.2. WIND. given by: cL = (1 − λa ) (1 − λs &i ) (1 − λd ) (1 − λm ) (11) where λa is the array losses. Coefficients λa .

For isolated-grid and off-grid applications. Average Wind Speed (m/s) 0 4.3 Wind Penetration Level (WPL) 0% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 10% 100% 98% 98% 98% 97% 96% 20% 100% 96% 94% 93% 92% 90% 30% 100% 93% 90% 87% 84% 82% Table 1: Suggested Wind Energy Absorption Rate for Isolated-Grid and Off-Grid Applications. It is found by interpolation in Table 1.18 .2 Absorption rate and renewable energy delivered The model calculates the wind energy delivered ED according to: ED = EC μ (12) where EC is the renewable energy collected (see equation 10).3 6. the model computes a suggested wind energy absorption rate. For isolated-grid and off-grid applications.Wind Energy Project Analysis Chapter 2. or nameplate. For central-grid applications.9 8.9 5.6 6. this rate is always equal to 100% since the grid is assumed to be large enough to always absorb all the energy produced by the wind energy project. the user enters the value of the absorption rate.3. where the Wind Penetration Level (WPL) is defined as: WPL = WPC 100 PL (13) where WPC is the wind plant capacity and PL is the peak load specified by the user. capacity (power). WIND. and μ is the wind energy absorption rate. The wind energy absorption rate is the percentage of the wind energy collected that can be absorbed by the isolated-grid or the off-grid system. WPC is obtained by multiplying the number of wind turbines by their rated.

load profiles and equipment performance curves. isolated-grid and off-grid applications).3 Excess renewable energy available Excess renewable energy available E X is simply the difference between the wind energy collected EC and the wind energy delivered ED : E X = EC − ED (14) 2. (1992). Under these circumstances.3. then the model does not provide suggested values.4 Specific yield The specific yield Y is obtained by dividing the renewable energy collected EC by the swept area of the turbines: Y= EC N A (15) where N is the number of turbines and A is the area swept by the rotor of a single wind turbine. Detailed results can be found in Rangi et al. The model only provides suggested values for wind penetration levels less than 25%. The simulations considered combinations of wind regime. if the wind penetration level is greater than 3% and the wind speed at hub height is 8. WIND. the wind energy absorption rates will vary widely depending on the configuration of the system and on the control strategies adopted. the suggested wind energy absorption rate varies according to the average wind speed and the wind penetration level.2.3 m/s or higher.3.19 . RETScreen Wind Energy Project Model As illustrated in Table 1.e. Table 1 values are derived from simulations conducted to establish the amount of wind energy delivered from windfarms installed in remote communities (i. However. Note that it is based on the wind speed at the wind turbine hub height. 2.

cost engineering experts. and hY is the number of hours in a year. The hourly model used is HOMER. diesel generation.20 . it is a joint undertaking between the US Department of Energy.5 Wind plant capacity factor The wind plant capacity factor PCF represents the ratio of the average power produced by the plant over a year to its rated power capacity. WIND. They include wind energy modelling experts. financial analysis professionals. the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). 2. The system is designed to meet about 6% of the total electrical demand of the town.4 Validation Numerous experts have contributed to the development. and ground station and satellite weather database scientists. 1985]: ⎛ EC ⎞ PCF = ⎜ ⎟ 100 C h WP Y ⎠ ⎝ (16) where EC is the renewable energy collected. expressed in kWh. and battery storage. Two configurations were tested: a small windfarm connected to an isolated-grid and a large windfarm connected to a central-grid. expressed in kW. photovoltaic panels. HOMER uses hourly simulations to optimise the design of hybrid power systems. greenhouse gas modelling specialists.500. The present validation does not make use of the optimisation capabilities of HOMER. The system configuration is summarised in Table 2. The system services a small local grid. Then. This section presents two examples of the validations completed. a small coastal community about 50 km North of the Arctic Circle (CADDET. WPC is the wind plant capacity.4. Small windfarm The system configuration used for the first test is based on a real wind power project in Kotzebue. testing and validation of the RETScreen Wind Energy Project Model. 2. 2001). Alaska.Wind Energy Project Analysis Chapter 2.3. with a total population of 3.1 Validation of wind energy model compared with an hourly model In this section predictions of the RETScreen Wind Energy Project Model are compared with an hourly model. 2001). HOMER can model any combination of wind turbines. The system comprises 10 turbines with a combined rated capacity of 500 kW. and the Alaska Energy Authority-Alaska Industrial Development Export Authority (AEA/AIDEA). It is calculated as follows [Li and Priddy. predictions of the RETScreen Wind Energy Project Model are compared to results from an hourly simulation program. the program is used only as a simulation tool. an optimisation model for designing stand-alone electric power systems (NREL. First. model predictions are compared to yearly data measured at a real wind energy project site.

RETScreen simply requires the annual average wind speed.8 m/s (all wind values are measured at 9.4 m). AK. 70 60 Power output (kW) 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 5 10 15 20 25 Wind speed (m/s) Figure 9: AOC 15/50 Turbine Power Curve.0. which is equal to 5. with a shape factor of 2.1 kPa and the annual average temperature is -6°C. The same data were used for both software programs. The annual average atmospheric pressure is 101. Weather data from the RETScreen online weather database for Kotzebue/Wien. WIND.6 MW Table 2: Kotzebue Wind System Configuration.21 . HOMER requires monthly wind speed values (shown in Table 3) and stochastically estimates hourly values from these. RETScreen Wind Energy Project Model Turbines Number of turbines Rotor diameter Swept area Hub height Grid type Local grid peak load Atlantic Orient Corporation AOC 15/50 10 15 m 177 m2 24 m Isolated local grid 3. In both models. was used. a Weibull wind distribution was used. RETScreen and HOMER differ in the type of wind speed they require. The power output curve of the AOC 15/50 is shown in Figure 9.2.

An exponent of 0. For example RETScreen automatically calculates the pressure adjustment coefficient and the temperature adjustment coefficient. the agreement between the two software programs is excellent.2 6. Section 2. and downtime losses.4.3 5.22 . WIND.14 was used. Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Average Wind Speed (m/s) 6.0 Yearly Average 5. nor do they necessarily correct for the same physical phenomena.6/5. As can be seen. RETScreen allows the user to specify array losses. In HOMER a wind speed-scaling factor has to be entered manually.7 5. that is. Similarly.Wind Energy Project Analysis Chapter RETScreen requires a wind shear exponent to automatically calculate the wind speed at hub height. In HOMER.1 6. Table 3: Average Wind Speeds in Kotzebue.7 6. In many respects. The factor used was set to 6.8 Comparison between HOMER and RETScreen requires exercising some judgement because the two programs do not necessarily require the same inputs. Finally RETScreen allows the user to specify a wind energy absorption rate. these values have to be manually entered in the form of a power curve-scaling factor.138 so that both RETScreen and HOMER use the same average wind speed at hub height. For these reasons.1 5. losses due to airfoil soiling or icing.2 will show that the agreement with experimental data is also acceptable in terms of actual renewable energy delivered. rather than the renewable energy delivered. AK.8 6. the comparison will be more meaningful if unadjusted energy production values calculated by RETScreen are used.6 5.5 5. Table 4 compares the annual energy productions predicted by RETScreen and HOMER.4 5.6 m/s.8 or 1. these have no equivalent in HOMER. once energy production is adjusted for various losses and pressure and temperature effects. RETScreen tends to be more thorough in its description of the system. again there is no equivalent in HOMER. which leads to a wind speed at hub height of 6.5 5.

annual average atmospheric pressure: 98. Annual average temperature: 12°C. WIND. As in the small windfarm case. The same data were used for both software programs. to facilitate comparison with HOMER. shape factor: 1.515 Difference +1. The main parameters of the system are as follows: 76 Vestas V47-600kW turbines (hub height 55 m.2 HOMER Total Energy Production (GWh) 265. Wind speed distribution: Weibull. Once again.1 m/s.532 HOMER Total Energy Production (MWh) 1.2.23 .8. The power output curve of the Vestas V47-600kW turbine is shown in Figure 10.2 Difference -2.64% Table 5: Comparison of Predicted Annual Energy Production – Large Windfarm.1 or 1.3/8. diameter 47 m). Annual average wind speed: 8. As before. Large windfarm The second test configuration represents a large windfarm connected to a centralgrid. the agreement between the two software programs is excellent. The comparison is shown in Table 5.272 had to be entered manually in HOMER so that both programs use the same average wind speed at hub height.14.3 m/s. RETScreen Wind Energy Project Model RETScreen Unadjusted Energy Production (MWh) 1.12% Table 4: Comparison of Predicted Annual Energy Production – Small Windfarm. a wind speed-scaling factor equal to 10. unadjusted energy production values calculated by RETScreen are used. RETScreen Unadjusted Energy Production (GWh) 258. According to RETScreen the average wind speed at hub height is 10. Altitude of site: 250 m. Wind shear exponent: 0. rather than the actual renewable energy delivered.4 kPa.

24 . which should be included in the value used by RETScreen. This makes a brief experimental validation of RETScreen Wind Energy Project Model possible. One should keep this in mind when reading the following comparison. The “other downtime losses” parameter in RETScreen was therefore estimated at roughly 10%. 2. 3% array losses. Downtime losses are difficult to estimate. Electricity production from turbines 1-3 is available for years 1998 and 1999. A caveat in using these data is that the first couple of years of production of a system can sometimes not be representative. In the absence of additional information. one-year of electricity production is available from July 1999 to June 2000.1. Electricity production figures can be found in CADDET (2001).2 Validation of wind energy model compared with monitored data Annual monitoring data have been published for the small windfarm system described in Section 2. for turbines 4-10. however that figure excludes many downtimes for scheduled maintenance and grid failures. as presented in Table 6. as there are often “teething” problems and adjustments required. The system’s 10 turbines were installed in several phases. Monitored wind speeds. According to CADDET (2001) the turbines were available 96% of the time. were used as inputs to RETScreen.4. the following conservative estimates were used: 95% wind energy absorption rate.4. and 5% for miscellaneous losses.Wind Energy Project Analysis Chapter 700 600 Power output (kW) 500 400 300 200 100 0 0 5 10 15 20 25 Wind speed (m/s) Figure 10: Vestas V47-600kW Turbine Power Curve. This is especially true for one-of-a-kind applications.” WIND. 5% airfoil soiling and/or icing losses. Bergey (2000) also reports on system performance for the 10 turbines. this is probably still too low a value given the harsh conditions to which the system is subjected and the fact that the system is still in its “infancy.

when comparing production of turbines 1-3 in 1998 and in 1999.9 Difference -8% +52% +18% -10% (MWh) 250 317 646 1.0 MWh (or 68% more) in 1999/2000 for the same 5. average production per turbine for a 5. except in 1999 where the energy production of the monitored project appears to have under-performed.9 5. In the case of isolated-grid and off-grid applications.5 Summary In this section the algorithms used by the RETScreen Wind Energy Project Model have been shown in detail. Period 1998* 1999* July 1999-June 2000* 1999-2000** Turbines 1-3 1-3 4-10 1-10 RETScreen Average Wind Speed Prediction (m/s) 4. Comparison of the RETScreen model predictions against results of an hourly simulation program and against monitored data shows that the accuracy of the RETScreen Wind Energy Project Model is excellent in regards to the preparation of pre-feasibility studies. the calculation of wind energy delivered takes into account the wind energy absorption rate. confirms the adequacy of RETScreen for pre-feasibility studies of wind energy projects.9 208.4 5. it appears that the 3 turbines actually only produced 23% less energy in 1999 although the average wind was 10% higher than in 1998.1. Again these discrepancies may be due to problems experienced by the installed wind energy system in its first few years of operation. and solved since then.170 * From CADDET (2001).4 Actual Electricity Production (MWh) 270. The comparison of RETScreen predictions with real data is nevertheless acceptable and this.760 points of data for most hourly simulation models.2. WIND.6 546. RETScreen reasonably predicts the actual electricity production.25 . Also. AK. as well as for various user-specified losses.4 m/s wind speed was 69.4. ** From Bergey (2000).4 m/s average wind speed according to Bergey (2000). Table 6: Comparison of RETScreen Predictions against Monitored Data for Kotzebue.057 ≈1. For example. particularly given the fact that RETScreen only requires 1 point of wind speed data versus 8.5 MWh in 1999 according to CADDET (2001) whereas it was 117.1 5. together with the model-to-model comparison of Section 2. 2. Energy production is then adjusted for pressure and temperature effects. RETScreen Wind Energy Project Model Table 6 summarises RETScreen predictions versus actual energy production. The model uses a user-specified power curve and a Weibull wind speed probability distribution function to calculate the energy curve of the turbine.


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